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Business Conditions and Sentiments

Insights into Australian business conditions and sentiments.

Reference period
February 2022
Released
4/03/2022

Key statistics

  • Less businesses experienced supply chain disruptions in February (37%) compared to January (47%).
  • In February, 15% of employing businesses had staff absent due to COVID-19, down from 22% January.
  • Less than a quarter (23%) of businesses reported a decrease in revenue over the last month compared to 41% of businesses in January.

The February collection was conducted through a telephone based survey between 17 February and 24 February. 

In responding to the survey, businesses are asked to provide a best estimate only, without accessing records or reports.

Business size categories used in this release:

  • Small (0-19 persons employed);
  • Medium (20-199 persons employed); and
  • Large (200 or more persons employed).

For information on survey sample, response rates and the questionnaire, see Methodology.

Supply chain disruptions

A supply chain is a logistics network between a business and its suppliers to produce and distribute a product to the customer. A supply chain disruption is an interruption to that network.

Businesses were asked if they are currently experiencing any supply chain disruptions. This information was collected in January 2022 and in April 2021.

Nearly two in five (37%) businesses are currently experiencing supply chain disruptions. This is less than in January 2022 (47%), but an increase from April 2021 (30%). Businesses with supply chain disruptions provided information about the extent to which they are being affected. In February 2022:

  • 28% were affected to a great extent (e.g. major delays / cannot obtain certain items and significant impact on revenue);
  • 69% were affected to a small extent (e.g. some delays but little impact on revenue); and
  • 3% were not affected at all.

(a) Proportions are of businesses experiencing supply chain disruptions.                                                                                                                                                                                                 

In February 2022, medium businesses were more likely than small and large businesses to report being affected by supply chain disruptions to a great extent (36% compared with 27% and 21%). 

The industries with the greatest proportion of businesses experiencing supply chain disruptions in February 2022 were Retail trade (65%), Manufacturing (58%) and Wholesale trade (57%). 

(a) Proportions are of all businesses.
(b) Includes repair and maintenance, personal (e.g. hairdressers) and other services.       

    Factors impacting the supply chain of businesses

    Factors impacting the supply chain of businesses

    Factors impacting the supply chain of businesses

    Businesses provided information on how these disruptions were impacting their supply chains.
    Businesses experiencing supply chain disruptions (a)
    Yes (37%), No (61%) and Don't know (2%)
    Of those businesses with supply chain disruptions(b)(c):
    88% reported increased time to receive products from suppliers
    80% reported that existing suppliers were unable to provide products
    75% reported increased prices e.g. transport costs
    50% were unable to source or substitute alternate suppliers for products

    (a) Proportions are of all businesses.
    (b) Proportions are of businesses experiencing supply chain disruptions.
    (c) Businesses could select more than one response option.






    Employee unavailability due to factors related to COVID-19

    In February, 15% of employing businesses had staff that were unavailable due to COVID-19 related issues. This is down from 22% in January. Large businesses were more likely than medium and small businesses to report employees being unavailable (58% compared with 41% and 14%).

    (a) Proportions are of employing businesses.

    Employee hours lost due to COVID-19

    Businesses provided information about the extent that they were able to cover the hours of staff that were unavailable due to COVID-19.

    Small businesses were the most likely to be unable to cover the hours of existing employees (35%), compared to medium businesses (29%) and large businesses (15%).

    Ability to cover employee hours lost due to COVID-19 using existing employees (a)

     Small businessesMedium businessesLarge businessesAll businesses
     %%%%
    No35291534
    Yes, existing staff can cover a small amount (some) of the hours 10272513
    Yes, existing staff can cover most of the hours 27193326
    Yes, existing staff can cover all the hours 27232426

    (a) Proportion of businesses experiencing employee hours lost. 

    Staff shortages

    Businesses provided information about whether, based on current operations, they had sufficient employees. In February 2022, 17% of employing businesses did not have enough employees.

    Medium businesses were more likely than large and small businesses to report staff shortages (34% compared with 29% and 16%). This was consistent with January 2022.

    (a) Proportions are of employing businesses.
     

    Between January and February 2022, for all business sizes, there was a decrease in the proportion of businesses that had staff unavailable due to COVID-19. Conversely, over the same period, there was an increase in the proportion of medium and large businesses that had insufficient employees to meet current business operations. These results reflect existing difficulties with staff shortages, during a period of high job vacancies (almost 400,000 at the end of 2021) and low unemployment.

    Businesses with insufficient employees and those unavailable due to COVID-19, by employment size 

     January 2022February 2022
     Insufficient employees (a)Unavailable due to COVID-19 (b)Insufficient employees (a)Unavailable due to COVID-19 (b)
     %%%%
    Small businesses17201614
    Medium businesses29543441
    Large businesses23652958

    (a) Proportions are of employing businesses reporting an insufficient number of employees. 
    (b) Proportions are of employing businesses reporting on availability of employees affected by factors related to COVID-19.    

    Changes in revenue

    Businesses provided information about changes in revenue over the last month and expected changes over the next month.

    In February 2022, less than a quarter (23%) of businesses reported that revenue had decreased over the last month. This compares to two in five (41%) businesses in January 2022.

    The proportion of businesses reporting an increase in revenue over the past month has risen to 15% compared to 11% of businesses in January 2022. Some businesses commented that the increase in revenue was due to easing of restrictions and returning customer confidence and demand.

    (a) Proportions are of all businesses.
    (b) Businesses reported changes over the last month.

    In January and February 2022, businesses provided information about how they expect revenue to change over the next month. 

    (a) Proportions are of all businesses. 
    (b) The sum of the components may not equal 100% due to rounding.

    Funds sought by businesses

    Over one in ten businesses (12%) sought additional funds over the past three months. This is consistent with results from February 2021 (14%) when this information was last collected. By employment size:

    • 12% of small businesses,
    • 15% medium businesses, and;
    • 16% of large businesses sought additional funds over the past three months.

    Businesses in Education and training (25%) and Wholesale trade (22%) were the most likely to have sought additional funds.

    (a) Proportions are of all businesses.
    (b) Includes repair and maintenance, personal (e.g. hairdressers) and other services.

    Reasons for not seeking additional funds

    More than eight in ten (85%) businesses had not sought additional funds over the past three months. These businesses provided information about why they had not sought funds. The most common reason was that the business had sufficient funds.

    (a) Proportions are of businesses that did not seek additional funds.
    (b) Businesses could provide more than one response.

     

    Data downloads

    Business Conditions and Sentiments, February 2022

    Previous catalogue number

    This release previously used catalogue number 5676.0.55.003